Human trafficking is a crime involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel an individual into labor servitude or commercial sexual exploitation. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.
More than 260 state, local and tribal officers registered to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) online Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) on Wednesday, March 17. While the training primarily focused on Arkansas law enforcement, the class included officers from various law enforcement agencies in 38 states and congressional staff representing 13 states.
The virtual HTAT program provides participants an in-depth understanding of current indicators that law enforcement may observe in industries known for human trafficking. The training consists of case studies, videos, and student-centered learning activities to enhance the learning experience. The training is online, creating a safe and secure environment with built-in social distancing.
The webinar was delivered by FLETC instructors from both the Charleston and Glynco training delivery points. They worked with FLETC’s Office of State, Local, and Tribal, the eFLETC team, and the FLETC Cheltenham Training Management team to deliver the virtual training.
The training included a panel of federal, state, and local human trafficking subject matter experts, including Arkansas representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI Human Trafficking Task Force, state and local prosecutors, and non-governmental organizations. A priority goal of the training was to introduce law enforcement to Arkansas-based resources they can depend on to assist with suspected human-trafficking cases.
“Human trafficking continues to cause devastation in our backyards and forces the young and vulnerable into modern-day slavery,” said U. S. Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01). “Ending this traumatic practice begins with our local communities and teaching folks how to spot the signs that someone may be in danger. I appreciate Arkansas law enforcement taking charge and implementing training which will be critical in our fight against these heinous crimes.”
“I am proud that Arkansas’s law enforcement received Human Trafficking Awareness Training from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers,” added U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “Worldwide, 25 million people are victims of human trafficking, and estimates show over 400,000 people are trafficked in the U.S. at any one time. This training is one step closer toward ending the atrocity of human trafficking.”
In late 2009, at the request of Department of Homeland Security leadership, FLETC began developing training on the signs and indicators of human trafficking. In 2015, FLETC incorporated human-trafficking awareness training into its basic programs for all new federal law enforcement officers and agents. In 2019, FLETC completed the development of its introductory HTAT program.
Since 2019, FLETC has delivered the HTAT to state, local and tribal law enforcement in New Mexico, South Dakota, Washington state, Nebraska, New Jersey, Missouri, California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Alaska, and now Arkansas.
FLETC provides career-long training to law enforcement professionals to help them fulfill their responsibilities safely and proficiently. This includes distance-learning program eFLETC and the personnel on staff dedicated to supporting the eFLETC mission and FLETC training. Through strategic partnerships, FLETC prepares the federal law enforcement community to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.
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